Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The day breaks, your mind aches

Back in the bad old days of the early 2000s I had nightmares about mornings like this, we had so many of them. Terror bursting in to what should have been the mundane morning routine and turning it blood splattered and broken, Israeli lives once again destroyed by murderers motivated by unfathomable hatred.

It's been feeling a lot like November 2000 lately, Palestinian terror striking down so many Israelis week after week, a new wave of attacks that echo the early violence of what became known as the Second Intifada or the Oslo War.

How I prayed that those days were over. Days whose evil imprint marks the soul of all of us who lived through them. Days when you lost count of just how many terror attacks there had been, could no longer keep track of the places and dates and names because there were just too many and a new part of the daily routine was simply wondering if you or someone you loved would be the next person to be struck down commuting to work or doing the groceries or taking the kids to school.

That old familiar dread returned again with a vengence this morning as I was sorting socks. My husband was standing in the bathroom, reading the news updates on his phone as he brushed his teeth. Suddenly he stopped, gasped, fell silent. I knew it was going to be bad.

Attack on a synagogue during morning prayers.

In the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Har Nof.

I would have felt that too familiar pang of dread on hearing of such an attack anywhere, but Har Nof, Hashem Yishmor, Har Nof, the neighbourhood we once lived in, where we have relatives, friends, former neighbours, acquaintances, so many people, so heartachingly familiar, so many good good people. 

A place of happy memories, of simple kindnesses from neighbours, walks in the woods and being stranded in the snow. A neighbourhood packed with synagogues and yeshivot and hesed organisations and charities, Torah, mitzvot and good deeds. Har Nof.

Har Nof, now a place known in all of Israel as the Jerusalem neighourhood where terrorists ripped in to a group of pious Jews at prayer, wrapped in their tallitot and tefillin as Palestinian murderers attacked them with guns and axes, killing and maiming, soaking the synagogue in Jewish blood.

All morning I had kids to prepare for kindergarten and playgroup, lunch to prepare, chores and projects to do, activities to organise, children to pick up and drop off. Routine to keep my mind from thinking or checking the news or wondering with terror what names I might hear.

This afternoon though lunch had been eaten, kids were busy playing or at youth group, laundry folded, time to check the news, see the photos and choke back the tears.

One of those murdered today was Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg הי"ד the father of a childhood friend from London. Not someone I'd met often, but someone who made an impression on me, a living embodiment of Torah Ve'Avodah, a pious Jew, who made a point of both working for his living and learning Torah regularly. A mensch in every respect. A good person.

My mind refuses to comprehend such a person being taken from this world with such utter barbarism, murdered during morning prayers, wrapped in his tallit and tefillin. May Hashem comfort and care for the family.

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